Smoking is a topic constantly in the news, it is something which affects everybody in the country – whether you smoke or not. If you don’t smoke yourself, you are still paying for those who do via taxation and National Insurance. However, you could argue that the government makes enough money via VAT to cover these costs.
Here are the Facts and Figures
According to research back in 2009, the treatment of smoking related illness is costing the National Health Service £5 billion per year, which is over 5% of the NHS’s total budget. Smoking and related diseases cause one in five of all deaths in the UK according to the same study by Oxford University.
As a footnote a separate study showed alcohol costs the NHS £3 billion per year. It is argued that the cost of smoking is actually three times higher when you take into account other factors such as loss of productivity, premature deaths and absenteeism. On the other side, duty and VAT on cigarettes is estimated at £10 billion per year, therefore it can be argued the cost to the economy is neutral.
Putting aside the cost to the country, the effect on the individual and their lifestyle is the issue that troubles most people. Some people are not interested in giving up smoking, but for those that are, it is widely agreed to be a very difficult thing to do. But it is achievable with willpower and the support and encouragement from others.
The important thing to do is to find alternative ways to handle the feelings you get when you want to smoke without actually smoking. Electronic cigarettes or e-cigs are one such method.
The advantage of electronic cigarettes is that they feel and look cigarette and therefore mimic the sensation and actions experienced by smoking. This means that if you are a social smoker, you can still join in without causing as much damage to your health. Hundreds of flavours are available to choose from, including various degrees of nicotine, though there are plenty of options for electronic cigarettes without any nicotine in them at all.
Other benefits include the ability to smoke anywhere as despite the smoking ban, electronic cigarettes are allowable in most public places. They are also cleaner as there is no ash and safer as they are not lit. Back to the cost of smoking to the UK, £342 million is spent per year cleaning up cigarette butts and £507 million putting out fires caused by smoking – something else that everyone towards.
Being a fairly new idea, many people question the health effects of electronic cigarettes, although recent studies argue that they are not linked to heart damage.
Electronic cigarettes are a good substitute and allow people to smoke as they did before the smoking ban without restrictions and also have the benefit of inhaling less harmful vapours. They can therefore act as a good starting point on the long road to giving up and millions of people worldwide seem to agree.